Hospital: Man charged in socialite wife’s death not competent

Neal Augenstein,

WASHINGTON – A German-born man indicted for murdering his 91-year-old socialite wife in their Georgetown home is currently incompetent to stand trial, mental health experts at Saint Elizabeths Hospital say.

At a hearing Wednesday in D.C. Superior Court, a judge ordered Albrecht Muth held for another month.

Muth is currently diagnosed with “psychotic disorder not otherwise specified,” according to a letter to the court from Patrick Canavan, the chief executive officer of Saint Elizabeths.

While Muth appears to have a factual understanding of court proceedings, “of concern is his ability to rationally understand the proceedings against him or consult with his attorneys to a reasonable degree of rational understanding,” Canavan wrote.

During an interview with doctors, Muth repeated his claim that the murder of his wife, Viola Drath, was “‘a hit by the Iranian Army,'” which was made because of his “professional activities” prior to his wife’s killing, according to Canavan.

Muth also reportedly said he wants to represent himself in his murder trial, so that “I can find the criminal who did this.”

Canavan recommended more testing, to rule out “feigned psychological problems.”

With continued treatment, “there is a substantial probability that he will attain competence,” to stand trial, Canavan wrote.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys told Judge Russell Canan they agreed with the recommendations.

Canan ordered Muth to return to the mental hospital, and urged him to cooperate with his doctors.

Muth will return to court April 25.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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